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"Ammunition in games" Topic


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Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 7:07 a.m. PST

Artillery ammunition; or why we should take it into consideration. From Napo times to 1870 at least (in my article).
link

It matters and it…speeds up play.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 7:20 a.m. PST

Great thoughts – I do like the Fire & Fury low ammo thing; it does make you think about how much useless long range fire you want to try

I also like Blucher where – when you used the ammo up, the guns limber up and go away; again makes you think

Mike Target26 Feb 2020 7:26 a.m. PST

I like to limit ammunition in some games, particularly in ECW or Colonial games: It adds an extra layer of tension when your troops have to be careful with their ammo expenditure, whilst being attacked by zulus from all sides!

I usually use a fairly simple system with a deck of cards, and each time a unit/gun fires you draw a card. This can work two ways- you either have a fixed amount of ammumnition; i.e when you run out of cards in the deck you run out of ammunition. Or introduce a random element, you keep drawing cards each time you fire until you get to a predetermined card…when thats drawn you've run out.

I recall assigning powder to Carts and Wagons in one ECW game, with a number of cards carried by each. Nearby units could use the powder, discarding a card each time they did do, and allowing commanders to move their supplies to where they were most needed. It led to some fierce fighting for posession of the supply wagons, as each side tried to capture them intact for their own use, usually resulting in the contested wagon exploding in the midst of the fight!

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 7:32 a.m. PST

In my house rules, you can allocate a number of moves of fire to each unit (battalion, battery etc.) At the end of that period the unit has to be visited for a turn by a caisson or ammunition wagon for a resupply. This means you need a brigade train or an artillery park etc from which the vehicles set out and take their chances upon the battlefield. If a limit is being imposed it is usually 10 moves but it can be upped or downed as required by the scenario. It seems to work quite well with problems for isolated units etc.. Personally I do not like the automatic withdrawal of a unit when it runs out of ammo. I think that should be a command decision even if it makes more sense to pull back.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 7:33 a.m. PST

Don't like the Blücher system.
First they mostly fired slowly. Fall of shot, smoke etc. Not so much tired unless very close then it cannot last.
Second, firing long range would not spend the canister which still makes an attack on batteries dicey.
In Blu they get nicely more and more friendly.

As I said in article pure dice makes it completly random which leads to strange empty guns move forward. Then it depends on the turn time length.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

Artilkeryman. It was not the wagons from the park coming to you but your second line / reserve ones, the empty ones going to the park.at least after say 1800.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 9:25 a.m. PST

I let my Batteries to fire only 3 turns. Turns are 20 min. Then they are out of ammo.
Regimental guns fire is unlimited, but they shoot only in skirmish phase anyway as additional skirmish shot.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

While I don't like the die rolling to determine whether a battery is out of ammo, I do think that most commanders didn't pay attention to battery ammo…that was the battery commander's job. Firing and the use of the reserves was all outside the commander's pervue in most ways during the battle.

At least in Napoleonic warfare, the idea was that batteries with a full complement of ammo could fire for about two hours--not counting canister. With the smoke caused by an entire battery firing, one gun would fire about 12-18 times an hour. [One ACW artillerist called this 'heavy firing'.

We treat artillery supplies like fatigue. Each time a gun fires in a turn [both offensive and defensively, it uses up ammo. With twenty minute turns, that is about 6 turns.

Like some fatigue rules, pull out the unit to rest, and it gets back fatigue, or in this case ammo from the reserves.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 10:16 a.m. PST

Jcfrog, you are absolutely correct. I simplified the description of the system for its part in the game.

thistlebarrow226 Feb 2020 11:52 a.m. PST

Over the years I have experimented with limited ammunitiion for artillery. I found it time wasting and an added sytem of accounting.

I now use smoke to indicate whether a gun, or an infantry formation, has fired. Next move the smoke is removed, if they do not fire again.

If there is smoke they deduct minus one on the fire factors.

This is sufficient to cause a player to hesitate to fire too often. And if he does fire every move he has less chance of causing damage.

whitphoto Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 12:12 p.m. PST

I don't like the record keeping, although I don't play black powder games where this would fit in more often. I like simple mechanics for these things. Roll more than one 1 (or whatever fits into your mechanics) and the crew needs to spend a turn reloading/needs to have someone spend a turn or two bringing ammo. It abstracts the mechanic and adds some fog of war/friction to the game.

tabletopwargamer26 Feb 2020 1:00 p.m. PST

Simple mechanics are best.

Button counting for artillery is tedious.

As a commander you don't have much clue what's going on with ammo until firing slows or stops in most eras, so to button count and control guns pulling out is ridiculously controlling.

Dice rolls are all that's needed to represent that unknown.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 1:27 p.m. PST

Well, you the player are the overall commander, the lower ones, the battery commander, the artillery general all at the same time. There is no escaping it: you shoot (battery commander job) you position it (often generals orders) you move the divisions, you charge or not… Sure Ney would not bother but his artillery commander would have the job of keeping it working and telling him when it gets in trouble or that the batteries would not be able to get close for much time etc. Obviously in small games no need to bother. In our games when a battery shoots and miss, it is often that they actually did not (smoke etc.).
Ithink, like hidden units,/fog of war, it really changes the was in a game. Only computers can do it accurately, we do not want (and cannot do) accurate bookkeeping.

UshCha26 Feb 2020 1:39 p.m. PST

We are perhaps a bit strange. But we are modern players. We take the ammunition carried by the real weapon and note its use. When it runs out you have had it, in a normal game for a few hours while you drive to the re-supply point or you risk losing the IRG unit as it come close to the front.

Die rolling for out of ammo is just not a credible methodology of small numbers of rolls the standard distribution of results are too wide. Plus a good commander will check what ammo he has available and if its in short supply will use only when it can be most effective so it goes against careful use of ammunition you could still run out immediately.

Again its about whether you consider adherence to reality improves a game or not.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2020 2:06 p.m. PST

In our Cinco de Mayo battle, the French have artillery ammo that runs out randomly and the Mexicans have unlimited artillery ammo,

In the real battle, the Mexicans were bunkered up in two well-stocked fortresses. They had plenty of ammo left over after the French fled.

The French commanders knew they were short on logistic support, and specifically artillery shells and powder. And it was raining, which throws some randomness to the artillery in the muddy field vice the covered ones in the fort. It's unlikely they had an accurate count of how much ammo they had and were able to calculate exactly what volley it would run out.

Anyway, I leave ammo tracking systems to scenarios rather than rules. That way instead of having a large, intricate tracking system that has to account for every possible battle system, you can have a simple system like "Mexicans, shoot away. French, roll a six, lose that die from the battery. (It still hits.)" that still represents the command dynamic you want.

Stoppage26 Feb 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

The link from your blog:

Artillery Ammunition Supplies

Ochoin (01 Mar 2007 11:43 a.m. PST) mentions:

Napoleon said re: the Campaign of 1813 that if he'd had enough artillery ammo he'd've won it

If this is true then would Napoleon have made greater use of his Grand Batteries if he'd possessed the artillery ammunition? If so then we could argue that the lack of ammunition at least had an impact on grand-tactical options even if it wasn't noticeable at tactical level.

Stoppage26 Feb 2020 4:06 p.m. PST

Some ways to model problems caused by artillery ammunition supply issues:

Infantry guns – restrict their range – unlimited firing up to that range. (Skirmishers will shoot down the gunners anyways).

Divisional batteries – have to test for ammunition only after obtaining very good results – if fail then withdraw/resupply because assumed to have blown their ammo away too vigorously.

Army and Corps position batteries – test for ammunition when threatened by close assault – if fail then bug-out because someone forgot the canister.

Grand batteries – only the central division should be firing on the objective. Flanking divisions give fire only to fulfil their protective role.

Perhaps control the formation of a Grand Battery after a grand tactical ammunition supply assessment.

RudyNelson26 Feb 2020 4:10 p.m. PST

When we did the artillery frontage calculations back in 1979 when we were play testing Guard du Corps, we did notice that artillery battery depth was three times deeper than firing frontage. Batteries could range from 200 to 300 yards depth because of all the support wagons.

As stated above the time representation per turn has a major affect on the rate of fire. Counter battery actions could not only knock out a gun but delay resupply by destroying support wagons or teams. It could also hinder personnel actions at the gun. So hampered firing is not only the result of low ammo.

14Bore26 Feb 2020 4:31 p.m. PST

Not sure it was ammunition or fatigue rating but only played Carnage and Glory once but seemed artillery had a limited use.
Always read a day long battle ammo in the Napoleonic wars wasn't a problem. Maybe at end of the war was a slight issue.

Sparta27 Feb 2020 7:17 a.m. PST

Clauzewitz in his comments on ligny

"The artillery of the French 3rd Corps consisted of 38 guns, that of Girard's division 8 guns. If we add to this around 30 guns belonging to the Guard and the reserve cavalry, the total number of French guns must have amounted to only 76. At any rate, the number was considerably smaller than that of the Prussians. If we are nevertheless obliged to agree that the Prussians lost more in killed and wounded, this is surely due to the fact that we hold too much artillery in reserve and relieve a battery as soon as it has expended its ammunition. For this reason some gunners try to expend their ammunition as quickly as possible."

Surely an indicator – from one of the most celebrated military theorists – that the resupply of ammunition during batlle was an imprtant factor, and that in some armies artilllery batteries withdrew early due to LOCAL lack of ammunition.

It could call for a variable handling for different armies of how quickly ammo is consumed.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2020 10:09 a.m. PST

Very interesting. This is the kind of info I need. Recent (re)reading of the detailed accounts of 1806 showed the Prussians often running out of amo. I put it on their mess.
Yes the amo potential problem should be taylored to armies and campaigns.
Unfortunately I forgot to ask about this in both recent museum visits esp in the artillery museum in SPB. What of the earlier periods too. In Mikeradze book the Russians also rotate the caissons, theoretically not the batteries.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2020 10:23 a.m. PST

Does anyone have rules for bricoles snapping?

Old Wolfman27 Feb 2020 10:32 a.m. PST

And in Aerodrome 1.1,you can and often do,run out of ammo eventually. I recall in a CY6 game,even when I was dry,ammo-wise,since I was flying a Japanese "Frank" fighter,I still tailed an American plane,as a matter of honor,I guess. Got nailed,but went down facing the opposition. Got kudos from the GM for my nerve.

forwardmarchstudios27 Feb 2020 10:59 a.m. PST

This conversation is interesting from an academic point of view. As far as gaming goes… well, not to toot my horn again, but if you're playing on a table that is 6' wide and your 28mm battalions are 12" wide, then unless your artillery is relegated to lining up at the back end of the table (which never happens) the figures are already starting at canister range. Of course, we all know that both players will place their artillery as far forward as possible upon set-up, so that the game begins with two lines of artillery within canister range of each other.

In such a tactical posture, running out of ammunition will not be an issue for the gunners of either army. They have much more immediate problems.

The artillery issue in war-games remains unsolved. But I'm working no it.

oldnorthstate27 Feb 2020 12:13 p.m. PST

Issue has already been resolved in the Carnage and Glory Computer Moderated rules. The system keeps track of ammunition expenditure for both artillery and infantry. Although it happens rarely depending on the scenario and the tactical situation it does happen. In creating an order of battle you can reduce the amount of ammo the unit has available from the default level to increase the possibility of it occurring.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2020 12:42 p.m. PST

If I am a battery commander, I need to worry about ammunition expenditure (even if I I have 200 rounds available to each gun).

If I am a Brigade General I am much less concerned.

If I am a Divisional General or Corp Commander, NOT MY PROBLEM.

Think about what level of commander you are trying to portray.

I find the arbitrary nature of F&F for running out of ammunition simplistic and shows a lack of statistical sophistication on the part of the authors – every time a unit fires it's a 10% change of running out of ammunition is not supported by the historical records.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2020 1:20 p.m. PST

It looks many of you did not read my piece.;)

Unless a general does not want to use his guns, particularly aggressively, he needs to know if they xan do what he wants.

And yes computer games can do it accurately.

Wolfman: I always thought that in air combat it is too often overlooked, a capital factor for limiting casualties ( and be less film like).

Sparta28 Feb 2020 2:54 a.m. PST

I do believe there are some important implications for wargames. Obviously as Forwardmach studies states – the simplistic 28 mm game with everybody starting within cannister range and no room for maneuvre will not need to concern itself with this. However, if you play with room to maneuvre and go for the long game on a grand scale, mmo is crucial.

1) Armies with poor resupply up front based their artillery on swapping batteries when they were depleted, which caused a large percentage of artillery to be held in reserve. That approiach could be respresented in running out of ammo faster. So some armies – I would specifically apply this to russia and prussia.
2) On the battery level, the commander could itensify bombardment or reduce it, which would depend on both ammo availability and fatigue of gunners.
3) The net effect is tht the longer the guns fires the higher the likelyhood of reduced effect. This can be represneted by reduced affect after either a prespecified number of times the battery can fire, a chance of runnig low and retiring, a chance of reducing effectiveness for every time the battery fires – the last can be incremental.

Personally I like the approach where there is a chance – dependent on the overall ammo situation and doctrine – of getting an incremental reduction in efficiency everytime the battery fires. I geneally do not like the on/off effect from F&F, but really likes that the batteries slowly degrades in efficiency in a non-preditable manner.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP29 Feb 2020 4:05 a.m. PST

Hi JC,

Thanks for a thoughtful post on an interesting topic! I agree this is an important issue that ought to be reflected in rules. My current enthusiasm is for the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848, where shortage of ammunition played an important part on several occasions.

I think the Low Ammo rule in ‘Bloody Big Battles!' (BBB) meets your requirements. Units go Low on Ammo if they roll 11 or 12 on their 2d6 firing dice, which are also the numbers that produce maximum effect on the target. The rationale is that the artillery commander has identified a target worth expending a lot of ammo on, so they have opened up intense fire. The artillery then misses its next shot, which represents it being re-ammoed by its reserve caissons. (In BBB a turn is typically an hour.)

The effect in games is that you do indeed see players choosing not to fire when the chances are low, as they fear that 8.5% chance of being Low on Ammo next turn. But guns still have their long range if a worthwhile target presents itself, and players do not find their guns suddenly going Low Ammo without having achieved anything.

In historical battles where one side was known to suffer from particular shortages, we commonly change the Low Ammo chance to a roll of 10+ (17%).

And all this without any bean counting.

Chris

Bloody Big BATTLES!
https://groups.io/g/bloodybigbattles
bloodybigbattles.blogspot.com

PS I'd also like to claim the credit for the elegant implementation of the Low Ammo rule in the Check Your Six! air combat rules. :-)

14Bore01 Mar 2020 5:37 a.m. PST

For giggles maybe next battle since I try and play Russians historically should keep track of Prussian batteries, give them so many rounds of fire then they must pull out to be replaced.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2020 11:49 a.m. PST

From your article

On the other end we want a game that gets you into the troubles, the thinking of those commanders of the time.

From above:

Unless a general does not want to use his guns, particularly aggressively, he needs to know if they can do what he wants.

Jcfrog:

Yes, that's the goal. It would depend on the level of command and who is responsible for 'knowing'? For instance, most nations' artillery had overall artillery commanders in the field.

Having said that, most of that 'knowing' at the corps and army level would be going into the battle, and then when the ammo was low during battle [either with the need to go to the reserve ammo, or when the reserve was used up]. In between counting was rarely if ever done by corps and army commanders.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2020 12:00 p.m. PST

Sparta:

I agree with your list. There are some things that skew such things.

1) Armies with poor resupply up front based their artillery on swapping batteries when they were depleted, which caused a large percentage of artillery to be held in reserve. That approiach could be respresented in running out of ammo faster. So some armies – I would specifically apply this to russia and prussia.

Or armies like the 1806 Prussia that weren't very good at maintaining a reserve of ammo available on the battlefield.

2) On the battery level, the commander could itensify bombardment or reduce it, which would depend on both ammo availability and fatigue of gunners.

This depends on smoke. In most cases, fire would be slow, the first cannon not firing again until all 6 or 8 had fired. It also depends on the purpose of the fire. If aimed, artillery has to wait for the smoke to clear. It is 'random' as Tousard terms it, it is more of an area interdiction, that would not depend on clearing the smoke, but would also be slow. Fatigue and quick firing would be when the enemy were close and it was direct/point blank fire. As there were far fewer rounds of canister in an ammo chest, that would be used up in a hurry IF needed.

3) The net effect is tht the longer the guns fires the higher the likelyhood of reduced effect. This can be represneted by reduced affect after either a prespecified number of times the battery can fire, a chance of runnig low and retiring, a chance of reducing effectiveness for every time the battery fires – the last can be incremental.

Considering the types of fire and the effort to produce it, an artillery unit 'random' firing for two hours isn't going to use up the same amount of ammo as one that is firing rapidly in the face of a direct attack. The same is true of fatigue… i.e. The rate of fire has a lot to do with mounting fatigue/effectiveness.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

Sparta02 Mar 2020 12:49 a.m. PST

McLaddie

Thank you for your excellent comments. I agree that many factors can affect the use of ammo by a battery. The difficult thing in a ruleset – as I see it – is to make rules that makes two end meet – they should gives a reasonable hisotrical narrative, with possibilities and actions based on historical data and propabilities, but they should also have inforce players into a general mindset of the generals commanding that specific army.

Usually we read about batteries running out of ammo and retiring because of to much ineffective long distance firing. We then make an ammo roll so that the batteries will withdraw after some time. However the players now stop long distance shooting, which is sensible, but that is not what happened historically – many of the armies shot a good deal of ammo away at extreme distances – for example the prussians at Gross beeren, who deployed their russo-prussian artillery at 2000 paces for an completely ineffectual bombardment (Nafziger). The consequence is to force batteire into making a test for not firing if eligible targets are available, but this make the opponenet use unhistorical bait techniques to make the batteries run out of ammo….

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2020 8:35 a.m. PST

The difficult thing in a ruleset – as I see it – is to make rules that makes two end meet – they should gives a reasonable hisotrical narrative, with possibilities and actions based on historical data and propabilities, but they should also have inforce players into a general mindset of the generals commanding that specific army.

Sparta:

It is a connundrum. For army, corps and even division commanders, they tended to assign artillery out in fields of fire or as support without actually dictating the technical details, ammo usage OR targets except when right there next to the battery.

The way I am handling it in my rules is by fields of fire. Players don't target particular enemy units. Artillery have fields which they affect. At longer than direct fire it is more of an interdiction effect with each turn rolled for ammo use. When the enemy enters the direct fire zone of any battery[s], those units become the targets, with more ammo loss possible. Of course, within combat/canister range, those units directly in front of the battery get the attention. As it is a area effect, it also takes in any pass through or bounce impacts too.

It does make it easier to have artillery follow 'doctrine' and any general commands on high.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Mar 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

Usually we read about batteries running out of ammo and retiring because of to much ineffective long distance firing.

As McLaddie points out, LR artillery fire is not for just attrition. If you didn't kill enemy units, but you caused them to march right where you wanted them, that is far from ineffective.

Sparta02 Mar 2020 2:03 p.m. PST

I have really liked the idea of a field effect, and tried it in different versions. However it was aproble getting it to work together with counterbattery. Counterbattery was in my view – as opposed to the arguments of some here – a very important precursor to a succesfull attack, an it was definately not an area effect.

forwardmarchstudios02 Mar 2020 2:30 p.m. PST

I'm working on some rules that resolve ammunition supply issues by using tarot cards. I've found the outcomes are just as historically accurate as those achieved by rolling dice on charts, while playing faster and being more fun.

La Belle Ruffian02 Mar 2020 4:02 p.m. PST

McLaddie – whilst I take Sparta's point about CBF, I life the idea of area effect – I hated bounce rods but there is something in your suggestion. I look forward to seeing your rules.

FMS – I've used cards to randomise in the past – currently thinking about double header ones, or multiple category, depending on the scenario. I enjoy C&C and am considering how you can give a range of options for commanders to be 'lucky' without their opposition blaming poor game design rather than the fortunes of war.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2020 9:53 p.m. PST

From what I understand, counter-battery fire occurred for three, maybe four reasons

1. One side had been goaded into firing by another. Like Mercer's Waterloo account

2. Batteries had been given the mission to clear out opposing artillery for offensive or defensive reasons such as Marmont's artillery attack during the 1797 campaign in Italy. [can't remember which battle at the moment…]

3. The enemy guns happen to be in the area the artillery
was assigned/positioned to interdict or destroy, like Sénarmont's attack at Freidland.

4. The artillery can't find any other target…again like Mercer at Waterloo.

I think those kinds of CBF can be folded into the area effect. It all depends on the area and the artillery mission.

Sparta03 Mar 2020 12:06 a.m. PST

McLaddie: My readings – which are quite extensive but mostly battles without British involvement – suggest that counterbattery was the norm especially on the offensive, and the reason we see commanders urging against it is to make artillery do something besides this. A lot of bouncethrough hits were secondary to counterbattery fire.

But I think an area effect or bouncthrough is very important. I tried it for many years, but the technicalities were difficult to get right. Itried both methods, one wer a certain number of hits were divided, which made players push other units into the zone to zuck hits from valuable units, nother method – a la Valmy to Waterloo, where all units in the zone received the rolled number of hits, which skewed up counterbattery fire, because one battery hit two batteries equally two if there was only one……

How do you manage the rules technicalities in your games?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2020 9:35 a.m. PST

suggest that counterbattery was the norm especially on the offensive,

Sparta:

That has been my impression too. I wasn't suggesting that the four reasons were equally seen. grin

I tried it for many years, but the technicalities were difficult to get right. Itried both methods, one wer a certain number of hits were divided, which made players push other units into the zone to zuck hits from valuable units,

What I have been playtesting is not 'counting' shots. Artillery have a front. Any units within such a front and in range will all be affected by all the artillery covering that front regarding long range and bounce through. Artillery fire at those units and only those units within their direct fire range equally. They is still add their factors to long range and bounce through.

Gamers are so used to, and enjoy 'aiming at specific targets' and basically acting like battery commanders.

I'll address the counterbattery fire in my next post. Gotta run.

14Bore03 Mar 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

Have read counter battery fire was on the Prussian agenda, playing thats how I have been going. On the other hand my Russians go after the infantry or Cavalry.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2020 2:00 p.m. PST

Have read counter battery fire was on the Prussian agenda, playing thats how I have been going. On the other hand my Russians go after the infantry or Cavalry.

14Bore:

I think not to include such things is missing a lot of fun--and national characteristics. I have commanders at the beginning of a game decide on such things as what artillery is to fire at, infantry/cavalry or artillery--such as Wellington's oft-repeated order to avoid CBF. [This just decreases the odds of British artillery engaging in it, not eliminating the possibility when there is a choice of target artillery or infantry and cavalry]

Until 1812 when they realized they were losing a lot of trained artillerymen, the Russians expected the artillerists to never retreat and die by their guns rather than lose them, while the French rarely did this.

From what I understand, in most cases when an artillery battery or more were assigned to support an infantry advance or defense, that would/could include driving back or eliminating any enemy artillery.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2020 2:19 p.m. PST

Sparta:

About CBF. When opposing artillery are sited in range of each other, unless the enemy offensive fire is doing a lot of damage to the infantry etc., defensively artillery would be more likely to target infantry and cavalry, those things that can actually take ground. Offensive artillery is more likely to target artilleyr because it is powerful on the defense.

So, several things game-wise are considered:

1. Army doctrine as discussed 14Bore

2. Support or attached artillery role: Defense, more likely to fire on infantry etc. Offensively more likely to fire on artillery at longer ranges with no infantry or cavalry in direct fire range. Of course, Army orders for the battle/doctrine would play a part in what the artillery actually does.

3. Artillery may be firing on infantry or cavalry in the area, but with artillery there too, if the opposing artillery is effected by area fire, there is a chance it will be goaded into counter-battery fire, which in turn may goad the opposing artillery. Unlike other area fire, CBF is involves specific artillery units.

It's not all that complicated. #1 is established at the beginning of the game and perminantly affects the chances for #2 and #3 to occur.

#2 is linked to doctrine and artillery role: Support an attack or defense, interdict a broad area or in the case of mass artillery, direct fire at everything to the front.

#3. is simply a chance event based on overall area fire effects.

Of course, the officer portrayed by the player can have his figure attach to an artillery unit and direct them to do #1 or #2 of the above.

This is all in playtesting and I haven't then tested it for any validity visa vie history yet. Get the system to work well, then test it against the real thing.

Sparta04 Mar 2020 2:32 a.m. PST

It is interesting to include national doctrines, and a degree of asymmetry always make for a fun game.

14Bore:
As for Russian counterbattery fire, Arnold has an excellent example from the battle of Bautzen in his 1813 book, where a russian battery – on the defensive – is asked by a senior officer, why he is not replying to the french artillery fire. He has to demonstrate – by firing a shot – that his guns cannot reach the french 12 pounders. So defensive reply to bombardment was seen as a standard thing to do. It is also interesting how many casualties are taken by units put specifically near batteries for support – even in situations where a wargamer usually would not consider the battery in peril of an attack.

McLaddie:
Very cool ideas! I especially like the concept of assigning missions to artillery. I have used area effect in ruledesigns, but found it to open a world of hurt in the form of gamemanship. Especially the goading of enemy artillery -do you send a small crappy battery towards the enemy grande battery just to make it loose ammo….

I have had most succes with making counterbattery fire very effective at suppressing the enemy artillery or forcing it to witdraw. With this effetct, when the enemy fires at you, you fire back to supress the effect he is causing you, otherwise you are forced to retire after a while, due to his fire not slacking from your suppression of him…

You can discuss the exact historical effects of the counterbattery fire, but I have been continuously amazed at how often batteries retire because of counterbattery fire, when you do the work of actually going into tactical snippets (P griffith style) from the history books, instead of just broad sweeping statements by senior officers :-)

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2020 10:36 a.m. PST

Very cool ideas! I especially like the concept of assigning missions to artillery. I have used area effect in ruledesigns, but found it to open a world of hurt in the form of gamemanship. Especially the goading of enemy artillery -do you send a small crappy battery towards the enemy grande battery just to make it loose ammo….

Sparta: In my game, it doesn't work that way. A grande battery is throwing out direct fire in an area to their front. Either the enemy batteries are going to be goaded into fire by being damaged. The grande battery is already targeting the enemy batteries because they are in the area being fired at. A crappy little battery can try and goad the enemy into firing, but it has to have a combat result against them first and then a roll to see if the effected artillery is goaded into firing back.

I have had most succes with making counterbattery fire very effective at suppressing the enemy artillery or forcing it to witdraw.

One of the things I'm shooting for [excuse the pun] is having a variety of possible reactions such as silenced, withdraw, damage, or combinations. For instance Mercer at Waterloo had been firing on a French 4lb battery when a 12lb battery started firing on him. When he stopped [silenced] the French 12lbers stopped. [finished any CBF]

You can discuss the exact historical effects of the counterbattery fire, but I have been continuously amazed at how often batteries retire because of counterbattery fire, when you do the work of actually going into tactical snippets (P griffith style) from the history books, instead of just broad sweeping statements by senior officers :-)

I agree that is the way to do the research. Do enough of them and you get a sense of reaction probabilities--by nation.

Mike the Analyst04 Mar 2020 4:19 p.m. PST

One challenge with area fire is assessing how much cover or dead ground there is in the area and how well the commanders use the cover

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2020 5:01 p.m. PST

Some reasoned and seasoned discussion here for a change! Great to see 'bounce through' raised as it was a significant aspect and as everyone agrees overlooked by so many rules merchants.

>>3. The enemy guns happen to be in the area the artillery
was assigned/positioned to interdict or destroy, like Sénarmont's attack at Freidland.

In my reading, Bulletins apart, I may be wrong, his action was seen as reckless and bordering on madness ( like the charge of THE Light Brigade ) at the time. Because it worked, and they 'won' praise got heaped where otherwise s*** may fall!

regards
d

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2020 6:14 p.m. PST

One challenge with area fire is assessing how much cover or dead ground there is in the area and how well the commanders use the cover.

Mike: True, but then that is an issue with any of the targeted fire one sees in most games.

In my reading, Bulletins apart, I may be wrong, his action was seen as reckless and bordering on madness.

SHaT1984:

I haven't read that. Napoleon and Victor did give the go-ahead to Sénarmont when he proposed the attack/support of Dupont.

My point was that the Russian infantry and artillery alike were targets in the area that Sénarmont's guns pounded--from the report it doesn't sound like he targeted one or the other specficially--just what was in front of his guns.

Sparta08 Mar 2020 5:20 a.m. PST

Mc Laddie wrote: In my game, it doesn't work that way. A grande battery is throwing out direct fire in an area to their front. Either the enemy batteries are going to be goaded into fire by being damaged. The grande battery is already targeting the enemy batteries because they are in the area being fired at. A crappy little battery can try and goad the enemy into firing, but it has to have a combat result against them first and then a roll to see if the effected artillery is goaded into firing back.

Will love to see you rules when you have them written up. Please PM me if you want outside opinion.

bw

Nic

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